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University of Kent works with Whitehall to offer apprenticeships

Whitehall is preparing to hire its first intake of apprentice economists to boost diversity at the heart of government, shaking up a profession often accused of failing to spot the financial crisis coming a decade ago.

An Oxbridge-educated maths genius might be the stereotypical candidate for a role advising ministers on economics in Whitehall, but the civil service wants to find 75 young people from all walks of life to take the positions instead.

People as young as 17 can apply, while a grade 6 in GCSE maths and three Cs or equivalent in any subject at A-level are required.

Any 17-year-olds who apply to become apprentice economists can expect a starting salary in excess of £20,000, or more than £22,000 for those in London.

They will join the Government Economic Service, working across various different Whitehall departments including the Treasury, work and pensions, business, energy and industrial strategy, education and environment, food and rural affairs. Positions will be based across the country, while those hired will also study on a programme delivered in partnership with the University of Kent.

Philip Hammond, the chancellor, said: “I want talented young people from all backgrounds to be able to access careers in government.

“As the Treasury launches the government’s first-ever economics apprenticeship, we will grow a new generation of economists who can apply their skills and knowledge to the opportunities and challenges in this country.”

Find out more on the Guardian website.

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